Grassroots Leaders Build Climate Justice: MG COP 15 Delegation

cop15As heads of states and social movements call on the US to take responsibility for its devastating impacts on the earth’s climate, MG is preparing to take a delegation of U.S.-based grassroots social movement leaders to Copenhagen, December 12-19.

MG’s Gopal Dayaneni is leading the delegation, a vehicle to build strategic alignment with global south movements, and other grassroots movements..

The group will work closely with several groups, including the Indigenous Environmental Network and Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. Delegates include: Gopal Dayaneni, MG; Alicia Garza, POWER (and MG Bay Area network, RTTC, GGJ); Mari Rose Taruc, APEN (MG Bay Area network, GGJ); Marisa Franco, RTTC; Kalila Barnett, ACE (and RTTC); Roxana Aguilar, SAJE (RTTC); Jill Johnston, SWU (GGJ); Diana Lopez, SWU (GGJ); José Bravo, Just Transition Alliance (GGJ); Cecil Corbin-Mark, WEACT (EJ Leadership Forum); Jacqui Patterson, Women of Color United; and Diana Pei-Wu, MSC.

What is COP 15?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the new vehicle of global economic governance, for the simple reason that the only way to deal with ecological crisis (or at least pretend to) is to reorganize the global economy (or at least pretend to). This year marks the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the UNFCCC and most nations will be represented at the convening in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7-18, 2009. As we approach the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 (which the US never ratified), Copenhagen and beyond become critical in determining the future of climate architecture.

The Moment:

A recent report by top climate scientists updating the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment issued in 2007 shows worse-than predicted consequences. They’ve announced that most parts of the Earth’s climate systems are changing faster and more severely than they had predicted. Recommendations by a panel of UN scientists include that “developed countries make cuts of between 25 percent and 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea levels, harsher storms and droughts and climate disruptions.”  The news tells us that the US is proposing 17 percent cuts but this is based on 2005 levels and is really only a cut of about 3.5 percent from 1990 by 2020.

What the world really needs to successfully weather the transition is:

  1. Targets that are real, binding, enforceable, verifiable and in line with the science, that reduce emissions at the source
  2. A transparent, democratic funding mechanism to administer the ecological debt owed by the industrialized countries to the Global South for mitigation and adaptation (or… Industrialized nations spent the last 200 years creating the problem that other people are now suffering from. They must pay for the damage.)
  3. The recognition and protection of the rights of all peoples’ in all aspects of climate policy.

Anything less will be disastrous for the planet and for her peoples.

Goals for the Delegation:

  1. Exposure: Build the Climate Justice analysis of grassroots base-building organizations working on racial, economic and environmental justice in the US and expose them to global movements working on the intersections between ecological sustainability and justice.
  2. Relationships: Connect folks with social movements, primarily from the South, for long-term alliance building, and amplify the presence of the “South in the North,” those communities hit first and hardest from climate disruption and who are suffering from racial, economic and social inequality in the US. We need to bust open the view of the US as a monolithic “rich country.”
  3. Participate in justice-based activities (marches, events, etc.) that have leadership from Global South movements and justice-based movements in the North.
  4. Support existing US-based, climate justice groups, including, EJCC, IEN and others.
  5. Use this exposure opportunity to build towards the USSF in 2010, COP 16 in Mexico in 2010 and the WSF in 2011.

Follow the delegation on Movement Generation’s Facebook page, Twitter, and our blog!

Support for this delegation provided by Solidago Foundation, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, and individual donors.  If you know of foundations or individuals who may be interested in contributing to building the grassroots climate justice movement, please contact Mateo Nube at mateo@movementgeneration.org. To volunteer time, press contacts, or if you have questions about the delegation, contact Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan at michelle@movementgeneration.org.

“When someone drives around drunk and starts running over people and crashing into cars, you don’t re-fill their tank or give them ‘one for the road’.  The rich economies have been driving around drunk on oil and running over poor people; it is time to take away the keys, throw ‘em into rehab and make them pay for the damages.  Taking away the keys means not letting them drive false solutions. Rehab means cutting off access to fossil fuels- an immediate ramp-down of consumption. Paying for the damage means ecological debt- a transparent funds-based mechanism for cleanup, mitigation, and adaptation from rich economies to the poor. The only force powerful enough to pull-over the U.S. is a trans-local grassroots-led social movement allied with movements in the Global South.”

— Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation